Not about what it buys or how much a celebrity makes, but two people having a head-to-head, heart-to-heart discussion about what money means to them—and why.
Take Sharon and Pete for example.
“I worry about money,” Sharon stated.
“Why?” Pete interjected. “We make a good living. We’re doing ok. ”
“I still worry. Look, I don’t want to talk about it.”
With some prompting, Sharon admitted that growing up in a divorced family where money was scarce made “money worry” her constant companion. While Pete knew her family story, Sharon had never articulated its impact on her thinking. Pete quickly began to unlock why they had constant battles about money.
These conversations happen regularly in the offices of Financial Life Planners, but when left to your own devices? Not so much.
Consider how powerful and meaningful it would be to talk about all aspects of money freely. To have evolving discussions with your partner that center on your values and projects vital to your happiness. To create magical and meaningful conversations with your partner.
Here are the six steps you need to create your own “non-judgment zone” to talk about money—and a few questions to get your conversations flowing:
- Find a space that is comfortable and private. You don’t want to attempt these conversations in the middle of your favorite restaurant where interruptions are guaranteed.
- Set a time limit to no more than 30-45 minutes. Like most sensitive topics, taking these discussions in small doses is a great way to start.
- Create guidelines. For example: no interrupting while the other person is speaking; sticking to one topic; acknowledging when negative judgments are occurring—and taking a break or ending the conversation.
- Be honest. In a non-judgment zone, there is no need for self-protection and embellishments. After all, there’s no point in this discussion if you’re not prepared to speak the truth.
- Have a list of topics to discuss (see below for a few to get you started). It’s best to begin with money history—understanding your partner’s idea of “normal” can reveal their deep set beliefs around money. You might know he or she grew up in a wealthy or impoverished home, but not aware of how that experience shades their current beliefs and behaviors.
- Take turns talking and listening. Each session should give each of you an opportunity to share, ask clarifying questions and listen deeply to what is being said.
These are just a few to get the conversation flowing. You might find that under the proper circumstances, you can have real discussions that benefit you and those you love.
What was your first memory about money?
What lessons did you learn about money growing up?
What was the first purchase you made with money you earned? How did it feel?
Did you consider your family: wealthy/middle class/poor?
What lessons did you learn from each parent about money?
Do you see yourself as a “spender” or a “saver”?
Do you worry about money or do you avoid money issues?
What’s been your experience with money conversations? Forbes version: Hit the “Comment on this story” button below to share or send me an email if you’d rather keep your experiences private. FLF version: Leave your comments below or send me an email if you’d rather keep your experiences private.